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The Daily Northwestern

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Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Rapid Recap: Minnesota 88, Northwestern 63

Daily file photo by Henry Frieman
Junior guard Melannie Daley pulls up for a jumper.

Three days removed from a decisive defeat against Purdue at home, Northwestern traveled north in search of a bounceback victory at Minnesota. 

Instead, the Wildcats endured another lopsided defeat, falling 88-63  in their third consecutive loss.

Both teams came into the contest grappling with prolonged struggles. The Golden Gophers were weighed down by a six-game losing streak, while the visitors had yet to defeat a team other than Wisconsin in 2024.

NU trailed early as Minnesota guard Grace Grocholski notched three triples in the opening two and a half minutes, but after a timeout to talk things over, the squad was able to regroup and remain competitive.

In a first half scoring frenzy, shots were falling for both teams, with coach Joe McKeown’s squad shooting 52% from the field in the opening 20 minutes.

After halftime, the ‘Cats underwent a drastic transformation, putting on a bleak display in the third quarter that allowed the Minnesota lead to balloon to as much as 26 points.

Despite a better showing in the final quarter, the Golden Gopher lead was too large to overcome. 

Here are three takeaways from NU’s loss to Minnesota

1. First quarter energy is a game-changer

Competing from the outset has been a consistent struggle for the ‘Cats this season.

 In their Big-Ten gauntlet, they have only led after the first quarter on one occasion, often falling into early double-digit holes. 

Two minutes into Saturday’s matchup, it seemed that things were not going to be any different. 

The team’s typical struggles in ball-handling and offensive production led to an immediate seven-point deficit, but the ‘Cats regained composure after a timeout.

 McKeown’s squad knocked down four first-frame triples after the timeout, including two from graduate student guard Maggie Pina. 

2. On this episode of the Melannie Daley show… 

In her first start since January 15, junior guard Melannie Daley scored the game’s opening points just 26 seconds into the contest.

As the team’s leading scorer, Daley has provided significant energy off the bench all season, often shifting the momentum in NU’s favor the moment she hits the floor. 

Daley amassed 16 points, marking her 19th double-digit output game and her sixth in a row. She also had three steals in the loss — a testament to her ability to dominate on both sides of the court. 

3. Extended scoring droughts strike again

Despite trailing by nine points at halftime, NU remained firmly in contention as the game reached intermission.

With both teams scoring on nearly every possession in the first half, NU kept the deficit minimal, rarely allowing it to exceed more than a few points.

After the break, the ‘Cats fell back onto old habits, experiencing significant shooting drop-offs.

Four minutes into the third quarter, McKeown’s squad was still searching for its first second-half points. 

With only two made field goals in the entire third quarter, Minnesota mounted a major second-half rout, leaving NU with more questions than answers.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @AudreyPachuta

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